Friday, May 23, 2008

Shoot the groundhog!

[Spoilers]

The worst moments from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

5. The final word on the motorcycle chase – The motorcycle chase through campus is probably the second best action sequences of the film. Yet it’s capped off with a lame one-liner. After Mutt and Indiana go piling through the library, a student asks him a question. He gives the answer, then says something like, “To be a good archaeologist, you have to get out of the library.” The script is a good number of groaners, but this one, at the end of a very good sequence, is especially damaging.

4. Mutt Williams gay biker entrance – Stipulated: not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, if you were considering turning over a treasured film series to a new young hero, would you make this his first impression?

3. The quicksand— Indy, family and friends escape the Soviet camp and end up in quicksand. Mutt mysteriously throws him a python as a rope. Hilarity ensues (or doesn’t). Fear of snakes was originally a humorous way for the fearless Jones to have a nutty phobia. But here it’s a strict self-parodying gag. The low point of the movie.

2. The opening 20 minutes— Everyone hates the ending. But I hate the beginning, too. What’s with the George Lucas’ American Graffiti fantasy? You open the movie with a fifties convertible filled with teenagers speeding alongside a secret convoy of Soviet soldiers? What’s with a crack KGB team being unable to shoot an old man running atop crates? How flat is the dialogue in this portion? Why do the stunts all look off? Why does the mushroom cloud look so fake? And most importantly ….

1. The groundhog – The first image of the film is this damn computerized groundhog burrowing to the surface. Then later we get a reaction shot in which the little critter plays the comedic foil to Jones, like something that would happen to Steve Martin in a bad Disney movie. This is the most seriously annoying piece of technological advancement in the history of the cinema. In only a couple of shots, he becomes the Jar Jar Binks of the Indiana Jones series. Shoot the groundhog.

5 comments:

Daniel G. said...

Haha, I agree with #'s3-5, and #1, but I actually liked the action in the warehouse. The shooting inaccuracy was bad throughout the movie, but I liked the first look at Indy back in action here. The car chase really was weird. Don't know what that was about.

Jeff McMahon said...

Totally disagree about #s 2 and 3, and my only problem with 5 was the bizarre decapitated statue of Denholm Elliot, which seemed like a failed punchline of some kind.

K. Bowen said...

Yeah, people seem to love No. 2. For some reason it just didn't work for me in the same way that it worked for others. Some people found it charming then exciting.

It's good to know everyone hates the groundhog, though. Although no one seems to be able to agree if it's a groundhog or a prairie dog.

Evan Derrick said...

On #4, it was a direct shout out to Marlon Brando in "The Wild One" if I'm not mistaken. Actually, I think Mutt's entrance and look was lifted directly from that film, so perhaps the Village People comparison is misplaced.

And I actually loved the quicksand sequence. It tickled my funny bone, although I won't argue that its a brilliant sequence or anything.

I actually really liked the beginning, apart from some of the odd cinematography (what was with the inconsistent lighting in the movie?).

I will agree with you on #5 and #1. $20 bucks says the groundhogs were Lucas' idea.

But Kevin, you forgot what was easily the worst moment in the entire movie - Mutt's Tarzan sequence. We've just gotten done with one of the most fantastic action sequences in all of the Indy movies, and they cap it off with Mutt swinging on vines with monkeys like Tarzan. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!?!?!?!?!?!????? Another $20 says that was Lucas as well.

K. Bowen said...

Hey, Evan, sorry it took so long to get back to you. Just noticed you

I caught The Wild One reference, but I can't say it helped all that much.

No argument with the Tarzan scene, either. Although that idea might have been palatable if handled a little less Tarzan-y and without the CGI monkey. So it didn't bother me quite as much.